Rethinking Customer Success Selling

Rethink Customer Success Selling OpsVantage

For customer success to be successful, the value proposition must deliver results for both the company and the customers.

Unfortunately, customer success managers tend to resist doing anything that even remotely feels like selling; thinking it’s a violation of their trusted advisor role.

Using a simpler example, let’s have another look.

The hotel equivalent of a CSM is a small team consisting of the bellman, concierge and the front desk. Their job is to drive customer loyalty and retention by making sure your stay is successful, your needs are met, and you have the best possible experience.

Imagine you return to the hotel from being out all day. You are greeted by the smiling faces at the front desk, and they ask how you are doing. You reply that you’ve got a splitting headache and are going to go lay down. The next few hours are spent suffering from a migraine.

The next day on your way out of the hotel you notice there is a small store next to the front desk that sells aspirin. The same front desk staff member is still on duty from the night before, so you ask why they didn’t tell you about the aspirin?

They tell you that they don’t want to be selling, selling is a conflict with their “service first” mandate.

Are you happy with that response?

You leave the front desk and head over to the bellman and ask for a cab. While waiting for the cab you’re mention to the bellman that you are headed across town to look at venues for your upcoming wedding. When your cab arrives, he wishes you well as he closes the door and gives the driver instructions.

That afternoon you return to your hotel. While walking back to your room you notice a sales office for special event bookings. The door to this office has beautiful pictures of corporate events and weddings being held at your hotel. You walk back and ask the bellman why he did not mention that your hotel also hosts weddings? He replies that he does not feel comfortable selling; it is in conflict with his Service First mandate.

Are you happy with that response?

Being service minded means that you are doing what is right for the customer, every time. By not completing a simple transactional sale the front desk staff did you a disservice, by not referring you to the special events sales desk, the bellman did you a disservice.

In the same way, the customer success manager must be aware of the products and services offered, able to quickly assist the customer with simple transactions and make referrals to the sales team at the appropriate time. Anything less is just unhelpful.

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